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Bloomberg Attacks Pandering Presidential Candidates

Saturday, 17 Nov 2007 04:37 PM

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, a potential presidential contender, berated the Republican and Democratic presidential hopefuls on Friday for "pandering in full throttle."

The billionaire independent's pointed assessment of honesty on vital issues came during a visit to New Orleans, a tour that was itself a much-hyped event with the feel and pace of a presidential campaign swing.

Speculation has increased that Bloomberg might enter the presidential race as a self-financed third-party candidate. This month, for example, he started saying "I'm not a candidate" instead of his usual response, "I'm not running." It was a slight but significant shift in phrasing his intentions.

Speaking at a meeting of the National League of Cities Friday, Bloomberg said politicians from both major parties are beholden to special interests, a reality that also shows up on the campaign trail.

"You will not hear the truth on the campaign trail because the campaign trail is, as somebody described it, pandering in full throttle," he said.

At a subsequent news conference, Bloomberg said his statement was not directed at particular candidates.

"I'm referring to everybody. You can go look through their speeches," he said.

He said candidates need to be more frank about their policies. "'I have a secret plan to end the war' is not an acceptable answer to the question of what you would do _ whether it's a war against poverty, a war against crime, a war against high taxes or a war against terrorism here or abroad," Bloomberg said.

Bloomberg's trip to New Orleans was the latest in a parade of high-profile tours by politicians and world leaders since Hurricane Katrina hit on Aug. 29, 2005. And, as so many others before him have done, Bloomberg ventured to the Lower 9th Ward to see for himself the flood-flattened neighborhood.

His side-trip, though, had a twist: He was greeted by Fats Domino, the 9th Ward's undisputed ambassador. The two shared pleasantries on the front porch of Domino's home, which was flooded and is still under renovation.

In the afternoon, after a lunch with Mayor Ray Nagin, Bloomberg visited the USS New York, an amphibious assault ship under construction at Northrop Grumman's shipyard in Avondale. The ship, which survived Katrina, was built with 7.5 tons of scrap steel from the World Trade Center. It is to be christened next spring.

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New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, a potential presidential contender, berated the Republican and Democratic presidential hopefuls on Friday for "pandering in full throttle." The billionaire independent's pointed assessment of honesty on vital issues came during a visit to...
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2007-37-17
Saturday, 17 Nov 2007 04:37 PM
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